Dec. 21st, 2008

Bitchin' Roast Chicken

I do actually cook on occasion, and sometimes I even post the recipes!

This one's actually from Barefoot Contessa (The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook) but since everyone and their brothers wants it when I actually make it, here it is. (Try to say that three times fast.)

Ingredients

1 roasting chicken (the book says 5-6 lb, but it works just as well with a chicken just shy of 7 lbs)
kosher salt (it really does taste better with kosher salt)
pepper
lots of fresh thyme (I used half of a package)
1 lemon cut in half
1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise (don't freak out of you end up with cloves falling out, you can use them too)
2 tablespoons butter (melted or not)
1 onion, either sliced or quartered (I use vidallia because I like 'em sweet)

Optional Pan Gravy:
about a cup of chicken stock
about 2 tablespoons flour
(these are subject to adjustment depending on what you get as far as pan drippings

Method

0. Pre-heat your oven to 425.
1.  Rinse the chicken. Make sure you take the bag of giblets out if there is one.
2.  Salt and pepper the inside and outside generously.
3. Stuff the lemon, thyme, and garlic inside the cavity.
4. Stick the chicken on your roasting pan. I use the rack in order to get better drippings, but you don't have to. Chicken should be breast-side up and wings should be tucked. Tie the legs if you want.
5. Either brush the chicken with the melted butter or, if you're lazy like me, cut the cold butter up in small pieces and press them onto the breast. The butter makes the skin nice and golden and makes the drippings taste better.
6. Scatter the cut up onions around the chicken in the pan. They're really good as a side. If you want other veggies, you can add other cut up veggies as well at this point. Carrots are especially delish done in the pan with the chicken.
7. Roast the chicken for about an hour and a half. You want to make sure the chicken is done, not overcooked.
8. Take out the chicken and veggies and allow to rest on a platter before serving.

Optional Pan Gravy:
9. Now that the chicken is out of the pan, set the pan across two burners on your stove and give it some heat.
10. Scatter 2 tablespoons of flour over the drippings and stir well, scraping up anything that's stuck to the bottom. You want a paste-like substance known as a roux, so if things are still a little runny after you've mixed the flour well, add a little more flour.
11. Once your roux is done, add the cup of chicken stock and stir well. If it's still too pasty, add a little more stock. This step is known as deglazing.
12. Let the pan gravy get up to a nice simmer, stirring constantly.
13. Drain pan gravy into an appropriate serving container. (Don't look at me, I use the measuring cup from the chicken stock.)

You can do the pan gravy roux first or deglaze first if you have a nonstick pan, since nothing much is going to stick to it. If you do not have a nonstick pan, deglaze with the stock first, scrape up the stuff that's stuck to the pan, and then proceed with the roux.
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Nov. 11th, 2008

I am going through WoW withdrawl

I probably wouldn't care about the downtime on the servers, but I am so frigging close to my epic flier money that I'm going nuts here. But I had a good dinner. Here's the recipe:

Beef and "Wild" Mushroom Stew

Ingredients

2 lbs stew beef (I ended up using chuck steak since there wasn't any boneless stew meat that would do otherwise. Just trim the fat.)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon thyme, smooshed up
3/4 cup beef broth or stock
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup dry red wine (I used the merlot in the fridge)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb red-skinned potatoes (I think I used something closer to 1/2 lb.. it was just one big potato.)
8 oz. sliced mushrooms, such as oyster, shiitake, cremini, etc. (Cremini mushrooms are the "baby bella" mushrooms which I used, and you can get them pre-sliced at the store)
1 cup baby carrots (I used more than that)
parsley for garnish (optional)

Process

1. Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and thyme in a small bowl
2. Place beef in the slow cooker, 4-5 quart size recommended, though I squeezed mine into 3
3. Sprinkle the flour mixture on the beef and make sure to toss to coat each piece
4. Combine the broth, tomato paste, wine, and garlic in a small bowl (or measuring cup if you have a big one.. why waste dishes?). Mix together well and add to beef
5. Add the potato, mushroom, and carrots to the crock
6. Mix everything as well as you can manage. It's not easy to mix if you're using a 3-quart cooker!
(At this point, you can cover the crock and stick it in the fridge if your pot is the removable-crock kind. Just make sure to take the crock out for a while before you pop it into the cooker so that the ceramic won't get shocked by the temperature change.)
7. Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 8-9 hours (put it on low if you're starting it in the morning before work.). Serve with parsley if desired. Or rosemary bread fresh out of your cheap oven that keeps your apartment warm for you. A glass of whatever wine you put into the pot also works well. Oooh, and pumpkin pie!

This makes enough for what I'd guess is 6 servings, or three really big servings if you're like me and don't eat much during the day only to eat like a starving elephant shrew at dinner.
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Oct. 19th, 2008

Impulsive French Onion Soup

So I impulsively decided to make French Onion Soup tonight for dinner. Blame Barefoot Contessa-- I was looking through my brand-new copy of Barefoot in Paris and the impulse just hit.

And it was delicious, which is just perfect for this frosty turn the weather's taken. It's adapted from Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen Cookbook only I managed to misread the recipe and you could almost call it a legit new creation. XD

Fud teim! )
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Sep. 30th, 2008

Banana Pancakes!

Today was a nice bit of time off from the office, so I had some cooking adventures. :3

First I made what have to be the best banana pancakes EVAR (recipe follows). Then I realized I was running out of paper towels and the like and had to run out to get some, which led to me getting a pomegranate to try along with a few other lunch goodies for lunch this week (potato salad and marinated mushrooms that I've been craving for a week now.. and some concord grapes). I'm thinking my pomegranate wasn't 100% ripe, but it's still delicious and worth the pain it is to get the yummy bits out. Can't wait until my usual grocery starts carrying them, since they'll be cheaper then. I can also definitely relate to Persephone's plight about not eating the seeds and it makes me tempted to write fic involving pomegranates. LOL

Anyway, pancakes. The main event. I made them for lunch with some bacon, then took a chance and froze the leftover ones since there was no way I could eat the whole batch. I'll get back to you if they actually froze well or not.

Banana Orgasm Pancakes! )

ETA: Banana Orgasm Pancakes freeze well, just wrap them in plastic wrap and then wrap them in aluminum foil. Zap for three minutes on high and devour with more bacon. Mmmmmm bacon.
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